The Australian news industry is going through a period of significant transformation. With News Corporation losing more than $800 million across its Australian and UK newspapers and Fairfax axing 125 jobs across its metropolitan dailies, the writing is on the wall. Since the global decline in newspapers began in earnest in the late 2000s, commentators have repeatedly asked what will happen to journalists who have been made redundant.
As publications of all sizes from national dailies to regional weeklies struggle to find the necessary cash to finance their operations, many journalists are preparing for life outside the industry. To find out more about the range of options open to former journalists, we spoke to Dee Bendo from Successful Resumes.
Shifting down and sideways
While the industry is in decline, Dee highlight that this doesn’t mean that job vacancies have fallen to zero. Journalists can no longer count on there always being generalist positions at larger publications. Competition at smaller publications has become fiercer, as the sprawling newsrooms of metropolitan daily newspapers such as The Australian, The Age and The Daily Telegraph face the axe.
“Many journalists are taking significant pay cuts to work at smaller, more niche or online-only publications in order to stay in the industry whilst hoping another opportunity with a major metro newspaper will become available,” she said.
For those journalists hoping to re-enter the industry at a high level, Dee stressed the importance of a spotless, attention-grabbing application and portfolio.
“You need a real point of differentiation and a lot of wow factor in your career passport in order to compete in the industry.
“Your resume and social media profiles need to scream for attention with uniqueness,” Dee said. “Make a real value proposition to potential employers.”
Closing a door and opening a window
Some former journalists are opting not to battle onwards in a declining industry and are taking their unique skillsets elsewhere in the communications sector. Dee said that while the newspaper industry is going through a transitional period, journalistic virtues like attention to detail, networking ability, strong interpersonal skills, and a high level of general knowledge can help them secure work elsewhere.
“Clients I have worked with have applied for Senior Communication Strategist, Content Advisors or something like PR and Social Media focused roles,” she said.
“Others felt they were too old to fight the market and secured government based roles with less responsibility.”
She had seen clients go on to included rewarding careers in international not-for-profits, community development organisations, educational institutions and more.
For those who are considering leaving the industry, Dee offered some consoling words.
“For many of my clients, redundancy was the best thing that’s ever happened to them because it has led many of them to a new world of success, work-life balance and job satisfaction,” she said. “Some earn way more than they used to as highly successful journalists.”